Engaging youth to become Coastal and Marine Environment Conservationists in the community of Gouyave, is behind the implementation of the ‘Capacity building and livelihood opportunities for Gouyave Youths through marine conservation’ programme which is geared towards 20 youth interested in pursuing a career within the marine sector.
An historic moment for the fishing capital of Grenada, the 12-month project launched on 23 July 2020, is spearheaded by the Grenada Coral Reef Foundation with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) GEF Small Grants Programme, in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Resilience, Environment, Forestry, Fisheries and Disaster Management, the Gouyave Fishermen Cooperative Society Ltd and the Grenada Community Development Agency (GRENCODA).
Programme Coordinator and Executive Director of the Grenada Coral Reef Foundation, Roland Baldeo, will be responsible for implementing the project that will see the young participants engaged in theoretical and practical activities in the field of marine conservation. At the end of the programme, these young people will receive their Open Water PADI Diver and First Aid certification. The programme will also provide training in coral gardening including assisting in the rehabilitation of approximately 500 m2 of coral reefs, and other skills designed to enhance their employability.
Fisheries Minister, Alvin Dabreo, encouraged participants to take this programme seriously since the Blue Economy which potentially can contribute significantly to Grenada’s food security, will need highly skilled individuals to occupy jobs within the marine sector. “We are now appreciating the importance that the Blue Economy plays towards our food security because we consume a lot of marine products. To achieve this there will be growing demands for trained personnel to manage those resources. To you the participants this is an amazing opportunity that you should be taking full advantage of, the experience and training that you will receive by your participation in this project will set you apart from your counterparts.”
National Coordinator of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme, Kadijah Paula Edwards, explained that community organisations such as the Grenada Coral Reef Foundation can qualify for a maximum of US$50,000 through GEF Small Grants Programme once their project proposal is consistent with GEF’s strategic criteria. Addressing the participants, Edwards emphasised the need for the organisation’s management team to ensure that this project becomes a success through prudent management of the funds received. “The success of this initiative will not only rely on funds provided by GEF but also on you (young people) and also on the management team. Managing a project may look simple, but it is not, it requires a lot of dedication… problem-solving skills and recordkeeping and it requires you to be fully committed to the cause.”
GRENCODA Programmes Manager, Benny Languaine, spoke specifically to the aspect of the project that will see participants certified with the PADI Open Water Diver certification. Also endorsing the start of the project in his home town was Cultural Ambassador, Hollice “Mr Killa” Mapp, as he reminded participants of their responsibility to themselves and their community and that they can only achieve success through hard work and dedication.